goals

5 Tips For Facing the Competition

Every business has its fair share of competitors. Some of these may be entrenched market competitors, some of them may be upstarts, but they’re all looking to take away your customers, profits and market share. So what’s the best way for facing this competition? Here are 5 tips to grow your business in a competitive marketplace:

Stop Trying to Copy the Business Model of Your Rivals

You will only achieve success if you run your business on your own terms, and not fall prey to chasing after rivals in your industry. As soon as you stop following your own path and start copying your competitors, you could find yourself even further behind than when you started. You have your own unique strategies, resources and capabilities so you need to stay true to your business model that optimizes them in the best possible way.

Divide Your Long-Term Goal into Smaller, Manageable Goals

So much of business seems to be focused on the big stretch goals — disrupting an industry, toppling the market leader, or launching a radically innovative product. But guess what? Any big stretch goal can only be achieved if you divide that goal into smaller, manageable steps. You need strategy and tactics to reach your goal. Your strategy should explain how you plan to acquire customers, which markets you plan to penetrate, and how you plan to out-perform competitors. Maybe you’ll grow market share by 10% a quarter. Write it down and then figure out how to achieve it.

Avoid Over-Analyzing Your Competitors

There’s a big difference between doing some basic competitor research and relentlessly stalking your competitors. Yes, you need to know what your competitors are up to, but that doesn’t require tracking your rival on social media, or obsessing about your competitors’ newest product launches. The more you focus on rivals, the more you are getting away from the core mission of your business. Remember, you launched your company for a reason, whether it’s to solve a problem faced by customers or to save the world. So focus on that!

Build a Strong Team

Having a successful small business is about more than just having a cool product and a rock star CEO. It’s about having a solid team of professionals who care intensely about your mission and goals. You need to keep your team motivated. That’s easy when things are going well, but what about when they are not going so well? Think about ways to bring the company together, reward success, bring in the best talent and convince your other top talent to stay!

Make Quality the Focus of Everything You Do

Quality is the key to out-shining your competitors. This does not just mean a higher-quality product, but also a higher-quality customer experience. Think of yourself as offering value to your customers. Only then will you be able to take on competitors.

In short, you always need to know how to benchmark the performance of your small business. Even something like “quality” can have very quantitative goals – maybe it’s something as simple as having 99% 5-star reviews on Yelp. Or 99% of products shipped on time. By quantifying, you can keep your business focused on the big picture, instead of constantly shifting gears to keep up with your competitors.

What’s Your Definition of Success?

Success. That word represents happiness, prosperity, and ultimately the accomplishment of dreams. However, success is mostly dependent on the parameters within which we as individuals place it. Professional success takes on a slightly different meaning depending on the individual who does the defining.

Most of us can agree that success is something we all strive for. Whether we are an artist, a visionary, or a business mogul, the end goal is still represented by our own interpretation of success. Before we can attain anything that remotely looks and feels like success, we must first overcome obstacles and challenges that stand in our way.

The average person might define successful individuals as those who have it all and never seem to be worn down by life’s overwhelming challenges. What these people fail to realize is that success can never be fully achieved unless the person stays motivated through failures and obstacles that are thrown in their way. Traditional concepts of success are all around us, with the most popular caricatures possessing wealth and popularity. Not everyone shares that definition of success.

For you as an individual, the importance of sifting through these traditional representations of success is the key to discovering your own definition. Do you dream of being your own boss? Are you passionate about devoting your time, energy and resources for a good cause? What warms your soul and brings a smile to your face? Answering these questions will help you redefine success for your life, and will help you eliminate the unnecessary pressure put on you by traditional concepts.

Money is rarely satisfying enough to become the definition of success. For those who use it to accomplish their true life goals, it becomes a means to an end that leaves them feeling truly successful.

Setting Goals for Success

Whether you’re an established entrepreneur or just starting your first business, setting SMART goals can help define your business priorities with clear objectives that put you on the path to success. SMART goals are defined as: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Each criteria plays an integral part in creating goals for your company.

Specific

Write exactly what you want to accomplish with your goal based on the five Ws:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • Why do I want accomplish this goal?
  • Where will this happen?
  • Who is involved?
  • When do I want to achieve this?

A specific goal must be clear so that all parties can understand and answer the questions above.

Measurable

Your goals should be measurable so that you can track the progress towards achieving them. This means that there must be quantifiable indicators that prove you have reached your goal. This criteria helps answer the question: How do I know if I have accomplished my goal?

Achievable

An achievable goal means that it is attainable with the given resources and capabilities. The goal should be challenging enough so that it motivates your team. However, making a goal too challenging can create frustration so it’s important to keep the goal realistic.

Relevant

Does the goal align with your company’s vision? It’s important to set goals that are relevant and add value to the business. When you achieve relevant goals, you help move the company towards greater success.

Time-based

Set a specific and realistic time frame for your goals. If you’re choosing bite-size measures, a month in advance may be realistic, while larger product or service launches may require several months. A deadline can create a sense of urgency and help motivate your team.

Do your business goals align with the overall vision of your company? If not, you may wish to make some adjustments on either end. This will help ensure that your company is on track for success.